Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 84:99-112 (2010)
Political life is and ought to be entirely autonomous from theology; religion belongs to the private sphere and political community is ruled by the sovereign power of the state in accordance with “secular reasons.” This is commonly referred to as the modern settlement over the vexed relationship between politics and religious faith, and many have characterized it as one of the greatest legacies of the Enlightenment. Against this positive assessment, I shall argue that in hisearly De Regno, Thomas Aquinas offers compelling theological and philosophical reasons to doubt the coherence of the modern settlement and its compatibility with Christian tradition. According to this view, political practice must be reinterpreted according to a distinctly Christian understanding of the human person. Political life is not autonomous; rather it essentially requires theological reorientation
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